The cast members of Fullmetal Alchemist are all heavily driven by their own personal goals, regardless of what actions they have to take to get there. Scar, for example, had no problem with taking the lives of State Alchemists who hadn’t done anything wrong simply because State Alchemists were responsible for the genocide of the Ishvalan people. This intense drive goes both ways, though, as whenever he turns things around and realizes his wrongdoings, he throws himself wholly into reforming the society he once sought to destroy.
This can be seen in the “heroes” of the series as well, and one of the characters who treads the line between good and evil with their actions the most would be Roy Mustang. He’s driven by an intense desire to become the next Fuhrer, and though he means well, the tragedies he witnesses throughout the series cloud his judgment and threatens his humanity at times.
10 Right: Placing His Faith In The Elric Brothers And Helping To Give Them A Future
After the Elric Brothers committed the ultimate sin of attempting human transmutation, it was Roy and Riza who found them. And while Riza commented that she’d never seen anyone look so defeated, it was Roy who realized that Edward still had a fire burning in his eyes.
He originally came to talk to Edward because he’d heard rumors of a gifted alchemist in the area, and hadn’t expected to find the results of human transmutation. Nonetheless, he extended the military offer to the boys, and helped give them the freedom to search for a way to get their bodies back. The rest of the military would’ve solely used them.
9 Wrong: Telling Edward That He’d Have To Get Used To Cruelty Like The Tucker Incident
After everything happened with Shao Tucker, Roy ran into the Elric brothers who were sitting out in the rain. They were hung up on not being able to save Nina, and rather than offer them a moment of compassion, Roy’s response comes off as unnecessarily cruel.
He states that incidents like these are something that they’re going to have to get used to if they remain in the military. He even goes as far as to say that general State Alchemists and the cruel actions of Tucker aren’t that different, which is a practical but harsh sentiment.
8 Right: He Wants To Become Fuhrer In Order To Reform What He Sees Wrong With Amestris
Roy is first seen talking about his ambitions to Hughes whenever the two of them are stationed in Ishval. While staring up at the Fuhrer, he states that he can’t imagine how good it must feel at the top, and his desire to do so isn’t driven by anything negative.
Riza confirms this when she talks with Edward about what would happen if Roy was able to realize this dream. In order to make up for their wrongdoings in Ishval, all of them would be tried as war criminals for all of their unjust killing, and Roy is shown to care deeply about mending things between Amestris and Ishval.
7 Wrong: Lying To Edward About Hughes’ Death And Letting Them Believe He Was Still Alive Instead
When Edward arrives back in Central after Hughes’ death and asks where he is, Roy chooses to hide the truth from them. Instead of revealing what really happened, he chose instead to tell the boys that he retired out to the country.
He states afterward that he did it to spare their feelings, but Riza points out that she thinks it’s incredibly cruel. They find out immediately after anyway, not just from Maria telling them but also from the fact that Winry was on her way to Hughes’ house at the time.
6 Right: Although He Had To Act Like A Villain, He Saved Maria Ross’ Life
Roy is an incredibly intelligent character who was able to see through the military’s plan of trying to frame Maria Ross for Hughes’ murder. At first, though, it seems like he believes it and is completely consumed with the thought of getting revenge on his best friend’s killer.
He has to play the role of an incredibly dark villain during this arc, temporarily turning both Edward and the audience against him for a time. He redeems himself by the end of it, though, as it’s revealed that everything he did was actually to keep her alive.
5 Wrong: Not Going Against The Military’s Orders While In Ishval
Whenever Roy and the others were stationed in Ishval, they followed the military’s orders without question. The only one who was seen going against them was Armstrong, who had too empathetic of a heart to allow himself to be used as a human weapon against innocent civilians.
He was discharged from Ishval and most likely suffered other consequences as a result of his failure to act, and it could have been that Roy was worried about losing his rank within the military if he didn’t serve. However, that isn’t a good excuse for him to not have stood against the military’s cruelty as well.
4 Right: He Knows He Can Get Carried Away At Times And Trusts Riza To Stop Him
While Roy does have a strong sense of morality and is generally a good person, his own ambitions and feelings can cloud this at times. This is especially true after Hughes’ death, as he’s driven by personal vengeance and spite that take control of him and get in the way of his better judgment.
What stops this from being a major character flaw is that he entrusts Riza to judge whether he’s going too far with things. He’s even given her express orders to shoot him if he ever strays too far from his path and does something he can’t take back, showing how much trust he places in her.
3 Wrong: He Took His Cruelty Too Far When It Came To Envy
Envy was not only the one responsible for starting the Ishvalan War that Roy had to serve in, but was the one who killed Hughes as well. Given everything that they did, it makes sense that Roy would want to get his revenge, but he nearly lost his humanity in the process.
It would’ve been understandable for Roy to kill Envy for everything that they’d done, but he was needlessly cruel with how he approached it. He continually burned and tortured Envy to the point where Riza could barely watch and considered shooting him because of it.
2 Right: Despite Not Becoming Fuhrer, He Still Works To Reform Ishval And Make Things Right
This particular point plays out differently between the manga and Brotherhood version of events. In the manga, Marcoh comes to Roy and states that he’ll give him the stone to heal his blindness if he agrees to reform things with Ishval and allow Marcoh to live there as a doctor, to which he agrees.
The Brotherhood version paints Roy as more sympathetic towards Ishval of his own volition. By the time Marcoh comes to check on him, Roy is already hard at work thinking about how they can reform things with Ishval. This is despite the fact that his rank only increases to Brigadier General at the time and not Fuhrer.
1 Wrong: He Used His Flame Alchemy For Death And Destruction Despite Hawkeye And Her Father’s Wishes
Hawkeye’s father originally refused to teach Roy the secrets of flame alchemy because he knew just how easily it could be used for destruction and didn’t want to see that come to pass. He instead recorded his legacy in the tattoo on Riza’s back and allowed Roy to learn it as long as he promised not to use it for ill.
Fans are aware that he didn’t end up keeping this promise, though. He used his flame alchemy to take countless lives while in Ishval and allowed himself to use it for the sake of revenge against Envy as well.
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